PRETORIA, South Africa — In an agonizingly slow announcement, a magistrate allowed Oscar Pistorius to go free on bail Friday, nine days after the Paralympian was arrested in the Valentine's Day killing of his girlfriend.
Pistorius' family members and supporters shouted "Yes!" when Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair made his decision after a more than 1 hour and 45 minute explanation of his ruling to a packed courtroom.
Radio stations and a TV news network in South Africa broadcast the audio of the decision live, and even international channels like the BBC and CNN went live with it, underscoring the huge global interest in the case.
Nair banned cameras from Friday's dramatic bail hearing and complained about cameras constantly "flashing" in Pistorius' face the previous three days of hearings, saying the spectacle made the athlete look like "some kind of species the world has never seen before."
Nair set the bail at 1 million rand ($113,000), with $11,300 in cash up front and proof that the rest is available. The magistrate said Pistorius must hand over his passports and also turn in any other guns that he owns. Pistorius also cannot leave the district of Pretoria, South Africa's capital, without the permission of his probation officer, Nair said, nor can he take drugs or drink alcohol.
The double-amputee Olympian's next court appearance was set for June 4. He left the courthouse in a silver Land Rover, sitting in the rear, just over an hour after the magistrate imposed the bail conditions.
The magistrate ruled that Pistorius could not return to his upscale home in a gated community in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria, where the killing of Reeva Steenkamp took place.
Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius said: "We are relieved at the fact that Oscar got bail today but at the same time we are in mourning for the death of Reeva with her family. As a family, we know Oscar's version of what happened on that tragic night and we know that that is the truth and that will prevail in the coming court case."
Pistorius' senior defense lawyer, Barry Roux, told reporters the defense is satisfied with the bail.
Nair made the ruling after four days of arguments from prosecution and defense in Pistorius' bail hearing. During Friday's long session in Pretoria Magistrate's Court, Pistorius alternately wept and appeared solemn and more composed, especially toward the end as Nair criticized police procedures in the case and as a judgment in Pistorius' favor appeared imminent.
Nair said Pistorius' sworn statement, in which he gave his version of the events of the shooting during the predawn hours of Feb. 14 in a sworn statement, had helped his application for bail.
"I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail," Nair said.
Pistorius said in the sworn statement that he shot his girlfriend — a model and budding reality TV contestant — accidentally, believing she was an intruder in his house.
Prosecutors say he intended to kill Steenkamp and charged him with premeditated murder, saying the shooting followed a loud argument between the two.
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